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England overtake France to set up Greece date

France 1-2 England
England set up a semi-final meeting against Greece on Thursday after a victory that left France second in Group B and facing Spain in the last four.

England overtake France to set up Greece date
England overtake France to set up Greece date ©UEFA.com

England set up a UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-final with Greece after goals from John Lundstram and Harry Kane gave Noel Blake's side victory against France.

Needing a point to make sure of progress, England claimed all three with an assured display. Les Bleuets – who briefly levelled in the first half through Jordan Vertout – were already assured of a place in the last four regardless of the result, but finish second in the Group B standings, meaning they face holders Spain in the last four on Thursday.  

England defeated France on their way to winning the 2010 U17 title and, with six players from that match in their starting lineup, went in search of a similar outcome in Tallinn.

After a slow start in the bright Estonian sunshine, the game burst into life with England's opening goal in the 16th minute. Lundstram's strike from distance confused France goalkeeper Jonathan Millieras, who could only watch as the ball flew in.

Standing in for first choice Alphonse Aréola in one of seven changes in Pierre Mankowski's starting lineup, Millieras was almost caught out again soon afterwards as he raced back to his goal to gather another Lundstram effort at the second attempt. The goalkeeper then produced a flying save from Kane's goalbound free-kick.

France were champions at this level in 2005 and 2010 and responded in a spirit befitting those title-winning teams with a fine equaliser in the 31st minute. Kevin Mayi showed superb control to trap Elhadji Ba's dropping pass before laying the ball invitingly back for Vertout to apply a side-footed finish.

Parity was short-lived, though, as Engand regained the lead before the break. This time Millieras could only help Robert Hall's corner into the path of Kane, who drove in.

In a second half of few chances, England's Nathan Redmond had a snapshot tipped over while at the other end Eric Dier saved his side when clearing Jérôme Phojo's deflected strike off the line. France were unable to find an equaliser, and their first loss at these finals took them through in second place in the section, a point behind England.